Blogs

  • On The Economy, The Environment & Income Tax Time

    The combination of topics for today’s E-Letter might seem unusual, and it is – the economy, the environment and income tax time. How do those fit together? They don’t really, but I think you will find today’s discussion on each to be interesting.

    The economy has been in a slow recovery for the past five-and-a- half years. It’s the weakest post-recession rebound in generations. The Commerce Department’s latest revision of 4Q GDP shows that nothing much has changed. Meanwhile, winter economic reports for retail sales, manufacturing and capital investment point to a weaker 1Q, perhaps only around 1% growth in GDP.

    Today we will look at several recent economic reports, most of which were (you guessed it, unless you didn’t read last week’s E-letter) disappointing. That includes last week’s final Gross Domestic Product report for the 4Q, Gallup’s Economic Confidence Index and February durable goods orders and housing starts.

    I also want to share with you some of the latest interesting polling results from Rasmussen Reports that I think you’ll find very interesting, especially regarding how most Americans feel about the IRS – given that income tax day is just two weeks away.

    But before we get to those topics, I want to share with you the findings of a couple of new Gallup polls which gauge Americans’ concerns about the environment and global warming. With so much alarmist rhetoric out there, you would think that the environment would be near the top of most Americans’ worry list. Let’s take a look.

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    Posted to Forecasts & Trends by Gary D. Halbert on 03-31-2015
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  • Living in a Free-Lunch World

    The world has been on a debt binge, increasing total global debt more in the last seven years following the financial crisis than in the remarkable global boom of the previous seven years (2000-2007)! This explosion of debt has occurred in all 22 “advanced” economies, often increasing the debt level by more than 50% of GDP. Consumer debt has increased in all but four countries: the US, the UK, Spain, and Ireland (what these four have in common: housing bubbles). Alarmingly, China’s debt has quadrupled since 2007. The recent report from the McKinsey Institute, cited above, says that six countries have reached levels of unsustainable debt that will require nonconventional methods to reduce it (methods otherwise known as defaulting, monetization; whatever you want to call those measures, they amount to real pain for the debtors, who are in many cases those least able to bear that pain).

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    Posted to Thoughts From The Frontline by John Mauldin on 03-30-2015
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  • Will You Survive The Next Bear Market?

    Since the beginning of January 2014 stocks have shown signs of institutional selling. This can be seen in the small capitalization stocks index the Russell 2000. This group of stocks generally leads the S&P 500. Most bull market tops in the S&P...
    Posted to The Gold And Oil Guy by Chris Vermeulen on 03-27-2015
  • US Dollar: American Phoenix

    Lastweek the FOMC essentially removed forward guidance and placed all options back on the table, and at the end of the day they’ve opened the door for further tightening. As Yellen recently explained in advance, the removal of the word patience from the Fed’s guidance amounts to fair warning to the rest of the world’s central banks: an interest rate hike is on the horizon. Govern your actions accordingly. (My personal guess, for those interested, is September, with the Fed proceeding exceedingly slowly and cautiously thereafter.)

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    Posted to John Mauldin's Outside the Box by John Mauldin on 03-26-2015
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  • US Economy Badly Disappoints Analysts’ Expectations

    Today we will talk about an economic indicator that I have not written about before, which is compiled and reported monthly by CitiGroup, the American multinational banking and financial services corporation headquartered in Manhattan.

    The report is known as the CitiGroup Economic Surprise Report. It is an interesting indicator in that it measures how actual economic reports exceed or fall short of their pre-report expectations, or “consensus” as we call it. 

    CitiGroup compiles the Surprise Report each month, not only for the US but also for other regions of the world, including the Eurozone, China, Asia and others. We will look at this particular indicator today since most US economic reports this year have come in below expectations, whereas in late 2014, most exceeded the consensus.

    What does this tell us about the future? Most analysts conclude that the recent downward trend in the Surprise Report means that the US economy is slowing down, perhaps significantly. I tend to agree. Yet some others maintain that the report tells us little, if anything, about the direction of the economy. That’s what we will talk about today.

    Following that discussion, we’ll turn our attention to the latest developments in the oil patch. Given the collapse in oil prices over the last year, the number of working oil rigs has plummeted by almost 50%. Yet very surprisingly, daily oil production and our level of above-ground crude inventory have continued to increase rapidly.

    The question is, how can the rig count drop by almost half, yet daily oil production has continued to soar? The answer may surprise you.

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    Posted to Forecasts & Trends by Gary D. Halbert on 03-24-2015
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  • NEXT FINANCIAL CRISIS – Part III – OIL

    Protecting Yourself with Gold, OIL and Index ETF’s In 2009 I shared my big picture analysis, investment forecast and strategy in a book called “ NEW WORLD ORDER ECONOMICS – What you can do to protect yourself ”. In January 2009...
    Posted to The Gold And Oil Guy by Chris Vermeulen on 03-23-2015
  • Precious Metals - THE NEXT FINANCIAL CRISIS – Part II

    Protecting Yourself with GOLD, Oil and Index ETF’s In 2009 I shared my big picture analysis, investment forecast and strategy in a book called “ NEW WORLD ORDER ECONOMICS – What you can do to protect yourself ”. In January 2009...
    Posted to The Gold And Oil Guy by Chris Vermeulen on 03-18-2015
  • The Surging U.S. Dollar - Good For Some, Bad For Others

    The US dollar has been surging against most other currencies over the last year. The question is, is the rising US dollar good for the economy and the investment markets, or not? No doubt, the rising dollar has been buffeting the US equity and bond markets this year and is increasingly cited as the main culprit. That is what we will delve into today.

    Opinions differ whether a rising dollar is a net positive, or a net negative, for the US economy going forward. But as I will point out below, the strong US dollar is a good thing, despite what others may say. However, the main reasons why the dollar is surging may surprise you.

    The US dollar has risen about 33% from its low in April 2007. The euro is approaching a new low relative to the US dollar, reaching $1.05 last week, the lowest level since 2003. The euro could be at parity with the US dollar, or even less, very soon. But what does that mean for most Americans? We will answer that question today.

    At the end of today's letter, I will recommend that investors reduce exposure to equities or hedge long positions due to rising financial risks around the globe, which are reflected in the soaring US dollar. Be sure to read my analysis below.

    Before we get into that discussion, let’s look at some recent economic reports and data. We start with the results of the latest Wall Street Journal survey of over 60 economic forecasters. Next, we look at the wholesale price index which has now declined for the last four months. And then we look at retail sales which have declined for the last three months, well below expectations. Let’s get started.

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    Posted to Forecasts & Trends by Gary D. Halbert on 03-17-2015
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  • Reality Always Wins… But Never on Schedule

    By Louis James, Chief Metals & Mining Investment Strategist “Expect the worst and you won’t be disappointed” is true enough, but it’s a miserable way to go through life. For investors, expecting the worst is paralyzing, a reason...
    Posted to Casey Research by Doug Casey on 03-17-2015
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  • THE NEXT FINANCIAL CRISIS – Part I

    Protecting Yourself with Gold, Oil and Index ETF’s In 2009 I shared my big picture analysis, investment forecast and strategy in a book called “ NEW WORLD ORDER ECONMICS – What you can do to protect yourself ”. In January 2009...
    Posted to The Gold And Oil Guy by Chris Vermeulen on 03-13-2015
  • SGE Takes On Gold Fixing On March 20.

    In This Issue.

    * Dollar taking no prisoners.

    * But two currencies carve out gains today.

    * Euro in a free fall, like dollar in 2009

    * Swiss francs fall below parity! .

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    Posted to Daily Pfennig by Chuck Butler on 03-11-2015
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  • Never Smile at a Crocodile

    As I sit here on Friday morning, beginning this week’s letter, nonfarm payrolls have just come in at a blockbuster 295,000 new jobs, and unemployment is said to be down to 5.5%. GDP is bumping along in the 2%-plus range, right in the middle of my predicted Muddle Through Economy for the decade. US stocks are hitting all-time nominal highs; the dollar is soaring (especially after the jobs announcement); and of course, in response, the Dow Jones is down 100 points as I write because all that good news increases the pressure for a June rate hike. Art Cashin pointed out that, with this data, if the FOMC does not remove the word patient from its March statement, they will begin to lose credibility. The potential for a rate increase in June is back on the table, but unless we get another few payrolls like this one, the rather dovish FOMC is still likely to wait until at least September. Who knows where rates will be end of the day, though? Anyway, what’s to worry?

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    Posted to Thoughts From The Frontline by John Mauldin on 03-11-2015
  • How to Get Struck by Lightning

    By Louis James, Chief Metals & Mining Investment Strategist Two M&A deals have already delivered paydays for investors in junior mining stocks this year: Goldcorp’s half-billion-dollar purchase of Probe Mines in Canada, and Tahoe Resources’...
    Posted to Casey Research by Doug Casey on 03-10-2015
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  • Where Interest Rates Are Headed: Fed vs. Futures

    Market analysts these days are obsessing over when the Federal Reserve will start raising interest rates, but the more important issue is where rates end-up once Yellen & Company finish “normalizing” the Fed Funds rate, whenever that might...
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  • Strong Jobs Report Hits Fed’s Rate-Hike Target Zone

    Last Friday’s unemployment report for February was stronger than expected, both in terms of new jobs created and the headline unemployment rate which fell from 5.7% to 5.5%. This sparked growing fears among investors that the Fed will move to raise short-term interest rates sooner rather than later. Stocks fell sharply just after the report.

    The debate over when the Fed will raise interest rates this year, by how much and over what period of time, continues. The financial media hangs on the Fed’s every statement, looking for clues as to whether the first rate hike will happen in June or September or even later this year.

    Whenever “liftoff” happens, it is likely to be only a quarter-point hike in the Fed Funds rate – the interest rate at which a depository institution lends funds maintained at the Federal Reserve to another depository institution overnight – which is currently around 0.1%.

    How much the Fed Funds rate could rise over the next few years is a subject of much controversy – as I discussed in my blog last Thursday (you really should subscribe) – but most analysts don’t expect the key rate to rise above 1% by the end of this year.Today we will discuss when the Fed might make its first move and how much rates may rise over the next several years.

    But before we jump into that discussion, let’s take a look at last Friday’s unemployment report, which saw the headline unemployment rate drop to 5.5%, the lowest in seven years. However, as is often the case, not all the data in the latest jobs report were positive. I’ll explain the good and the bad as we go along today.

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    Posted to Forecasts & Trends by Gary D. Halbert on 03-10-2015
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